Places

History of the Belle Meade Plantation

You can find the Belle Meade Plantation at Harding Pike. It offers a stunning Greek Revival design, beautiful gardens, and lots of space to wander safely.

The history of the plantation’s beginning is less than favorable. John Harding bought 250 acres and a cabin in the area, forcing black slaves to develop the land – including their own quarters. In the 1820s, the original mansion began to get constructed by their hands, featuring a limestone foundation and a federal-style presence.

William Harding took over operations in 1839 while his father worked on a business venture in Arkansas. The younger Harding kept acquiring land until he had 5,400 acres. After a fire in 1853, the Belle Meade Plantation was transformed into the style you see today.

What to Expect When You Visit Today?

When you visit the Belle Meade Plantation, the 5,400 acres have gotten trimmed to approximately 30 acres. You’ll find a visitors’ center, and a winery are now on the property, while the main house has become one of Nashville’s favorite museums.

Several preserved outbuildings are on the property for you to tour. They include a stable, carriage house, mausoleum, and a dairy.

You can also see the original Harding cabin.

To tell an authentic story about the creation of the plantation, tour guides at Belle Meade have been talking about the stories of the black slaves there. They were forced to work on the grounds in its early days, which was a practice that continued until after the Civil War.

This effort to tell the whole story led to the reconstruction of a typical slave cabin in Tennessee at the time, which provided a home for two families.

Tickets for the tour in 2020 are $24 for adults, $22 for seniors, and $13 for children between the ages of 6 to 18. You’ll receive a complimentary wine tasting with admission if you are old enough. COVID restrictions are expected to continue throughout most of 2021.

You can reserve a tour here if you wish to tour the plantation.